What are you complaining about? How everyone seems to be judging you? How tired and miserable you are with plodding through many work commitments ? How much you are sacrificing for your family to feed your lifestyle and theirs? How much if any of it, is in bringing the message of Christ Jesus to anyone or every one? Are you struggling to bring your child or children up in the faith? How much of the sufferings you endure is for building His Kingdom through the community? How generous and charitable are you with your time, actions and not your purse? Can you even identify with the hunger and thirst of those genuinely suffering because they have nothing to eat or drink? No one to care or comfort them? Again what are you complaining about?

Let us stay awake sisters and brothers! We have a mission and that is to share the love of the Lord our God with everyone. So that in coming to know our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ they might have life to the full in Him now and forevermore. No hardships and sufferings should ever deter us from sharing the joy of the Gospel because God’s Spirit is within us. We may not have all the answers at hand but we will have it as needed through the power and working of the Holy Spirit. God our loving Father will provide for all that we need, let us only stay focused on Jesus our Lord and strive to live life in the Spirit. Amen

First reading

Genesis 46:1-7,28-30
‘I can die, now that I have seen you alive’

Israel left Canaan with his possessions, and reached Beersheba. There he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. God spoke to Israel in a vision at night, ‘Jacob, Jacob’, he said. ‘I am here’, he replied. ‘I am God, the God of your father’, he continued. ‘Do not be afraid of going down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there. I myself will go down to Egypt with you. I myself will bring you back again, and Joseph’s hand shall close your eyes.’ Then Jacob left Beersheba. Israel’s sons conveyed their father Jacob, their little children and their wives in the waggons Pharaoh had sent to fetch him.
Taking their livestock and all that they had acquired in the land of Canaan, they went to Egypt, Jacob and all his family with him: his sons and his grandsons, his daughters and his grand-daughters, in a word, all his children he took with him to Egypt.
Israel sent Judah ahead to Joseph, so that the latter might present himself to him in Goshen. When they arrived in the land of Goshen, Joseph had his chariot made ready and went up to meet his father Israel in Goshen. As soon as he appeared he threw his arms round his neck and for a long time wept on his shoulder. Israel said to Joseph, ‘Now I can die, now that I have seen you again, and seen you still alive.’

Gospel

Matthew 10:16-23
The Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you

Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows: ‘Remember, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; so be cunning as serpents and yet as harmless as doves.
‘Beware of men: they will hand you over to sanhedrins and scourge you in their synagogues. You will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the pagans. But when they hand you over, do not worry about how to speak or what to say; what you are to say will be given to you when the time comes; because it is not you who will be speaking; the Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you. ‘Brother will betray brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise against their parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all men on account of my name; but the man who stands firm to the end will be saved. If they persecute you in one town, take refuge in the next; and if they persecute you in that, take refuge in another. I tell you solemnly, you will not have gone the round of the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: July 11, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys
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I have on numerous occasions through my on personal journey of faith been led, asked or tasked to take either the lead, consulted on or simply to run with what I would term spiritual matters of faith. From helping out in the Eucharistic Celebration in a variety of ways wearing different hats, to giving a formation talk at a RCIA session, a youth event, parish event, to being part of a prayer team to pray over others, to planning for a retreat or faith event, leading a prayer session or prayer meeting and so on. Was I qualified or experienced enough when I was first called upon? My answer would be NO! I simply said Yes to the call then would quietly panic as I asked for the Lord’s guidance on how to proceed. Often times just going with the flow, that is the flow of the Holy Spirit. Learning from making mistakes, allowing Him to teach and guide me so that I might grow a little more each day in wisdom and knowledge.

Trusting the Lord fully and surrendering our Will to Him so that He can lead us deeper in our faith journey is very difficult for almost everyone. Because whether we want to admit or not, most of us are control freaks and need to be familiar with a subject, topic before we will attempt to take the leapt to take charge or move with it. Hence if we were going for a retreat we want to know what to be prepared for, what to bring, the schedule, what are the topics covered before we will consider going. How then are we ever going to learn to trust the Lord to take the lead? How then are we going to proclaim to anyone that the Kingdom of the Lord our God is at hand, or simply to tell a stranger that Jesus loves him or her when we are too busy counting the cost of doing anything for Him!

We have received abundant blessings and graces freely from the Lord our God, how can we not serve Him and our brethren freely without counting the cost of doing so. In fact the best graces to be received through servitude of our Lord Jesus Christ and our brethren are purchased through sacrifice and suffering. Amen

First reading

Genesis 44:18-21,23-29,45:1-5
Joseph reveals himself to his brothers

Judah went up to Joseph and said, ‘May it please my lord, let your servant have a word privately with my lord. Do not be angry with your servant, for you are like Pharaoh himself. My lord questioned his servants, “Have you father or brother?” And we said to my lord, “We have an old father, and a younger brother born of his old age. His brother is dead, so he is the only one left of his mother, and his father loves him.” Then you said to your servants, “Bring him down to me that my eyes may look on him.” But you said to your servants, “If your youngest brother does not come down with you, you will not be admitted to my presence again.” When we went back to your servant my father, we repeated to him what my lord had said. So when our father said, “Go back and buy us a little food,” we said, “We cannot go down. If our youngest brother is with us, we will go down, for we cannot be admitted to the man’s presence unless our youngest brother is with us.” So your servant our father said to us, “You know that my wife bore me two children. When one left me, I said that he must have been torn to pieces. And I have not seen him to this day. If you take this one from me too and any harm comes to him, you will send me down to Sheol with my white head bowed in misery.” If I go to your servant my father now, and we have not the boy with us, he will die as soon as he sees the boy is not with us, for his heart is bound up with him. Then your servants will have sent your servant our father down to Sheol with his white head bowed in grief.’
Then Joseph could not control his feelings in front of all his retainers, and he exclaimed, ‘Let everyone leave me.’ No one therefore was present with him while Joseph made himself known to his brothers, but he wept so loudly that all the Egyptians heard, and the news reached Pharaoh’s palace.
Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am Joseph. Is my father really still alive?’ His brothers could not answer him, they were so dismayed at the sight of him. Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Come closer to me.’ When they had come closer to him he said, ‘I am your brother Joseph whom you sold into Egypt. But now, do not grieve, do not reproach yourselves for having sold me here, since God sent me before you to preserve your lives.’

Gospel

Matthew 10:7-15
You received without charge: give without charge

Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows: ‘As you go, proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand. Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils. You received without charge, give without charge. Provide yourselves with no gold or silver, not even with a few coppers for your purses, with no haversack for the journey or spare tunic or footwear or a staff, for the workman deserves his keep.
‘Whatever town or village you go into, ask for someone trustworthy and stay with him until you leave. As you enter his house, salute it, and if the house deserves it, let your peace descend upon it; if it does not, let your peace come back to you. And if anyone does not welcome you or listen to what you have to say, as you walk out of the house or town shake the dust from your feet. I tell you solemnly, on the day of Judgement it will not go as hard with the land of Sodom and Gomorrah as with that town.’

Life Journey…

Posted: July 10, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: July 10, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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What do we do with power given to us from on high? Especially when others are placed at our mercy? Do we toy with them? Do we treat them with disdain? Do we exact revenge for past hurts? or Do we instead care for them? Guide, teach and lead them to the truth? Do we love them as we love ourselves and our families? As disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ the only question which we should really ask is what would our Master do and then do it!

We can have many aspirations to be a vibrant, evangelistic and missionary church. But how will we achieve this if we do not first form ourselves through the Word of God, through prayer personal as well as communal. To strive for unity and communion with one another. We therefore must be evangelised ourselves whether as ministry or community! Only then can we go out to the whole world to share God’s love with everyone.

Lord Jesus my shepherd and my guide, teach and show me how I should tend to Your flock and I will do so according to Your will. Amen

First reading

Genesis 41:55-57,42:5-7,17-24
Joseph’s brothers in his power

When the whole country of Egypt began to feel the famine, the people cried out to Pharaoh for bread. But Pharaoh told all the Egyptians, ‘Go to Joseph and do what he tells you.’ There was famine all over the world. Then Joseph opened all the granaries and sold grain to the Egyptians. The famine grew worse in the land of Egypt. People came to Egypt from all over the world to buy grain from Joseph, for the famine had grown severe throughout the world.
Israel’s sons with others making the same journey went to buy grain, for there was famine in the land of Canaan. It was Joseph, as the man in authority over the country, who sold the grain to all comers. So Joseph’s brothers went and bowed down before him, their faces touching the ground. When Joseph saw his brothers he recognised them. But he did not make himself known to them, and he spoke harshly to them. Then he kept them all in custody for three days.
On the third day Joseph said to them, ‘Do this and you shall keep your lives, for I am a man who fears God. If you are honest men let one of your brothers be kept in the place of your detention; as for you, go and take grain to relieve the famine of your families. You shall bring me your youngest brother; this way your words will be proved true, and you will not have to die!’ This they did. They said to one another, ‘Truly we are being called to account for our brother. We saw his misery of soul when he begged our mercy, but we did not listen to him and now this misery has come home to us.’ Reuben answered them, ‘Did I not tell you not to wrong the boy? But you did not listen, and now we are brought to account for his blood.’ They did not know that Joseph understood, because there was an interpreter between them. He left them and wept.

Gospel

Matthew 10:1-7
‘Go to the lost sheep of the House of Israel’

Jesus summoned his twelve disciples, and gave them authority over unclean spirits with power to cast them out and to cure all kinds of diseases and sickness.
These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, the one who was to betray him. These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them as follows:
‘Do not turn your steps to pagan territory, and do not enter any Samaritan town; go rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. And as you go, proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’


Today many, if not all of our churches are using this Gospel text to pray for vocations ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest.’ and we have faith that our Lord will indeed send labourers to His harvest.

Many however think that this prayer is for vocations to the priesthood or religious life alone. Not so my dear sisters and brothers in Christ, our Lord is calling you too to serve in His vineyard. Yes that’s right, you who are reading this reflection and I are called to bring His light to all we meet. Many are hungry and thirsting for the Lord our God and are sorely in need of His love, mercy, peace and comfort. They are depressed and desolate because they have not been made aware that there is a great, powerful and all loving God who loves them all very dearly and does not want them to wallow in their misery. He wants each and everyone of them to live life to the full. Many of these still do not know and have not heard of our Lord Jesus Christ and it is our duty as His disciples to gather them all (harvest) into His fold.

So let us all wrestle with this seed planted into our hearts, God wants you and I to be powerful instruments of His Grace. And if we are single minded in our love for Him: come what may, difficulties, challenges we will overcome them all. For He will Bless us and we carry His presence with us every where we go. Amen

First reading

Genesis 32:23-33
Jacob wrestles with God

Jacnerveob rose, and taking his two wives and his two slave-girls and his eleven children he crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream and sent all his possessions over too. And Jacob was left alone.
And there was one that wrestled with him until daybreak who, seeing that he could not master him, struck him in the socket of his hip, and Jacob’s hip was dislocated as he wrestled with him. He said, ‘Let me go, for day is breaking.’ But Jacob answered, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’ He then asked, ‘What is your name?’ ‘Jacob’, he replied. He said, ‘Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have been strong against God, you shall prevail against men.’ Jacob then made this request, ‘I beg you, tell me your name’, but he replied, ‘Why do you ask my name?’ And he blessed him there.
Jacob named the place Peniel, ‘Because I have seen God face to face,’ he said ‘and I have survived.’ The sun rose as he left Peniel, limping because of his hip. That is the reason why to this day the Israelites do not eat the sciatic nerve which is in the socket of the hip; because he had struck Jacob in the socket of the hip on the sciatic nerve.

Gospel

Matthew 9:32-37
The harvest is rich but the labourers are few

A man was brought to Jesus, a dumb demoniac. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb man spoke and the people were amazed. ‘Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel’ they said. But the Pharisees said, ‘It is through the prince of devils that he casts out devils.’
Jesus made a tour through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom and curing all kinds of diseases and sickness.
And when he saw the crowds he felt sorry for them because they were harassed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: July 8, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Bow down low and worship the Lord Your God first and foremost, then His Grace will be upon you and your family. For all the importance and titles you have received can you restore life by your touch? Is the faith of your members in your family or your ministry thriving because of your actions? So what if you belong to an all powerful Executive Committee if you and the team members are not true disciples first after your Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ? Who opt to take shortcuts and cut corners instead of carrying your cross to follow Him on the narrow path? If you want to remain popular then perhaps you are best suited for the political arena!

Those who choose to follow Christ will strive to deepen their relationship with Him a little more each and everyday. They will not need to ask how this is to be done because they know it takes sacrifice and discipline to live out their daily lives according to His Will. They hear His voice, He knows them and they follow Him. That deep connection opens up Heaven for them and the grace of the God comes down upon them. Angels are sent to minister to them. Is this wonderful experience of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself not available to all of us?

We need to reach out to Jesus with all our heart, mind, soul, then He will take us by our hand and surely say to us, “Your faith has saved you, my child.” Amen

First reading

Genesis 28:10-22 ·
Jacob’s dream of the ladder at Bethel

Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran. When he had reached a certain place he passed the night there, since the sun had set. Taking one of the stones to be found at that place, he made it his pillow and lay down where he was. He had a dream: a ladder was there, standing on the ground with its top reaching to heaven; and there were angels of God going up it and coming down. And the Lord was there, standing over him, saying, ‘I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac. I will give to you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants shall be like the specks of dust on the ground; you shall spread to the west and the east, to the north and the south, and all the tribes of the earth shall bless themselves by you and your descendants.
Be sure that I am with you; I will keep you safe wherever you go, and bring you back to this land, for I will not desert you before I have done all that I have promised you.’ Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, ‘Truly, the Lord is in this place and I never knew it!’ He was afraid and said, ‘How awe-inspiring this place is! This is nothing less than a house of God; this is the gate of heaven!’ Rising early in the morning, Jacob took the stone he had used for his pillow, and set it up as a monument, pouring oil over the top of it. He named the place Bethel, but before that the town was called Luz.
Jacob made this vow, ‘If God goes with me and keeps me safe on this journey I am making, if he gives me bread to eat and clothes to wear, and if I return home safely to my father, then the Lord shall be my God. This stone I have set up as a monument shall be a house of God.’

Gospel

Matthew 9:18-26
‘Your faith has restored you to health’

While Jesus was speaking, up came one of the officials, who bowed low in front of him and said, ‘My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her and her life will be saved.’ Jesus rose and, with his disciples, followed him. Then from behind him came a woman, who had suffered from a haemorrhage for twelve years, and she touched the fringe of his cloak, for she said to herself, ‘If I can only touch his cloak I shall be well again.’ Jesus turned round and saw her; and he said to her, ‘Courage, my daughter, your faith has restored you to health.’ And from that moment the woman was well again.
When Jesus reached the official’s house and saw the flute-players, with the crowd making a commotion he said, ‘Get out of here; the little girl is not dead, she is asleep.’ And they laughed at him. But when the people had been turned out he went inside and took the little girl by the hand; and she stood up. And the news spread all round the countryside.

H word

Posted: July 7, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Interestingly enough most people, inclusive of Catholics who stay away from church, service in ministry and community often use the excuse that they do so by saying they don’t want to be among hypocrites. What is a hypocrite by definition then?

**Hypocrite **

noun
hyp·o·crite

\ˈhi-pə-ˌkrit\

: a person who claims or pretends to have certain beliefs about what is right but who behaves in a way that disagrees with thosebeliefs

Full Definition

1: a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion

2: a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings

If we follow the above definition then Catholics who call fellow Catholics hypocrite are themselves hypocrites are they not?

Afterall are we not all sinners in need of the mercy and love of our Lord Jesus Christ?

Are we not all called to turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospels?

Do we not have a higher calling to lead one another into a deeper relationship and worship of our Lord Jesus Christ?

Can we then continue our wayward way of life? Our ill discipline of late coming or non participation in meetings or sharing of the word? Of adopting a lax attitude in dress and reverence for our Lord Jesus Christ in the liturgy or in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament? Of criticising others for voicing wrongs through fraternal correction?

Instead of calling one another hypocrite, let us examine our very own lives. Just how well are we doing ourselves in the journey towards discipleship? Let us instead encourage one another to focus on the mercy and love of our Lord Jesus Christ and to build His Kingdom in the foundation of His love.